Tomorrow I will head to Morristown Medical Center to have my defibrillator and the accompanying wiring removed and replaced. (Why is outlined in previous posts.) The procedure involves removing the device and then placing a straw-shaped tool around the wires and snaking it into my heart, where the wire is screwed in. Over the last seven years, scar tissue has formed over the screw (this is a feature, not a bug–it holds it more securely in place). The scar tissue will be zapped away by a laser at the end of the tool so they can remove the lead. Then they’ll remove the tool and wire.
At this point, there is a possibility of some bleeding. Should that happen, the surgeon performing the procedure will have to go in and stop it. Statistically, this shouldn’t happen, but I’m reassured by the fact that the surgeon performing the procedure came highly recommended and should be more than capable of dealing with the situation.
After everything is removed, they will need to run a new wire into my heart, screw it in, and install the new defibrillator in my chest. They’ll glue me shut and that should be it for the day. I’ll be under for the entire procedure and if the past is any indicator, I’ll be barely functional for the rest of the evening.
If everything goes as planned, I will be released sometime on Friday. If there was bleeding, it’s likely they’d keep me a few more days. Either way, I’ll have some restrictions while everything heals and new scar tissue secures the screw more firmly. For example, I won’t be able to hold anything over ten pounds or raise my left arm higher than my elbow. (The risk here is pressure on the wire pulling the screw out of my heart. Great mental image, isn’t it?) The nice thing is that any inclination to do the wrong thing is deterred by the pain. That was the one thing that caught me off-guard after the initial procedure. No one said how much movement would hurt.
No one likes surgery. I’d be a fool to say that I wasn’t worried or concerned even though I know I have an excellent team on my side. I could just leave the wire in there, but given my age, it would almost certainly cause a complication down the line and every year it stays in there, the harder it will be to take out. (At seven, I’m already at an extra level of difficulty.) It’s time to get this over with.
Being a cyborg isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
A last thank you to everyone that has been so supportive through all this, particularly the few that have reached out to share their own experiences. It’s meant a lot to me.
Talk to you soon.